5 Reasons You May Need to Book an RV Site in Advance 
Tips for planning your campgrounds ahead.

By: GoLife Staff

A lot of RVers like to travel spontaneously in order to follow their perfect weather or be able to change their route on a whim. This is a huge perk of RVing! Since you have your room, bathroom, and kitchen along for the trip with you, it opens up multiple opportunities for where you can stay overnight. However, if there are certain destinations or campgrounds you'd like to visit (especially at popular times of the year), it may be in your best interest to book ahead.

Here are a few reasons you may need to book an RV site in advance:

1. Campgrounds and RV Resorts are Your Preference

If traveling without booking ahead, it is likely that you may end up parked in a no-hookup boondocking spot or in a Walmart parking lot if there are no options available or in your budget in the area you are traveling through. If you prefer to stay somewhere with full hookups and other amenities, booking ahead is probably in your best interest.

Note: Learn how a GoLife Perks membership (exclusive to Winnebago owners) can help you save on RV camping in this article

2. You are Camping in a Popular National Park

Many national parks open up their RV camp sites (even the non-hookup ones!) up to six months in advance. The more well-known parks, like Yellowstone and Grand Canyon, often end up booking up their campgrounds close to when reservations open. 

If you are planning an RV trip that highlights national parks and you'd like to stay at the on-site campgrounds, booking ahead is key. Check Recreation.gov to see when reservations open up in U.S. national parks and plan to book as soon as possible since sites will go fast at some national parks.

There are often dry camping areas nearby national parks, but as those become more and more popular it will likely be busier - especially during peak times. If not booking ahead, be sure to have a few back-up options in the area to check.

There are also websites that will notify you when a reservation opens up! One option, CampScanner, is available to GoLife Perks members for 20% off. Learn more.

3. It will Be Peak Season or a Holiday

Peak RVing season tends to be between June through September when many families take to the road during the school break. Although, winter RVing or extended-season RV camping and "snowbirding" in the warmer states to escape the cold is also very common. 

It’s also important to keep an eye on holidays and other popular times when planning your RV trips. Summer holidays, like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, are particularly popular for RVers. Spring break is another popular time for RVing; however, it is important to remember that the exact dates vary across the country.

4. You'll Be Staying in a Major City or Popular Destination

There are many RVers who use their rigs as a way to travel for work, so many RV parks in major cities can end up full even during non-peak travel times. If wanting to travel to any bigger cities or popular destinations, planning out your visit a ways ahead is a good idea – especially if you want to be close to the city center or go-to attractions. For example, the Florida Keys is extremely popular in the winter months and books out very far in advance – some campgrounds book out even a year ahead!

5. You are Going to an Event or Festival

RVers who like to camp at sporting events, music festivals, and RV rallies should make sure they have a spot well in advance. The annual Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is an extremely popular event with RVers and tends to sell out early on. Although the larger RV rallies (like Camp Winnebago) tend to have more room to fit a lot of RVs, it is still a good idea to book your spot when registration opens to make sure you get the area you prefer.

Of course, you can still be spontaneous when you travel, but keeping these tips in mind can definitely help manage your expectations during your travels. For more planning tips, read this article.


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User commented on January 11, 2023 6:44 PM
The keys we have been booking when we leave our current stay. Most othe times we usually only book 2 weeks to a month in advance with a mixture of HH sites and Casinos mixed in for our 1 night stays. We have been rejected a feee times but usually can find a place close. It does seem like most big rally’s book up pretty fast
User commented on January 15, 2023 2:22 PM
Year 3 of full time life here . . . we are always booked - every night, every stay, planned out. Does that make us feel tied down? Not at all - we always research cancellation policies, and feel it's worth the occasional cancellation fee if we want to change our plans around. We'd rather know we have a spot for our 40' rig than not. One example? While waiting to apply to volunteer at a National Monument for winter 23/24, we went ahead and reserved our normal slate of state parks. That way, if we were not selected, we still had places to stay. Once we found out we were chosen, those state park reservations were cancelled and freed up for others.